Food additive

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The different forms of emulsifier lecithin - powder, two different concentration liquids, granular and powder lecithin Lecithin-Formulierungen.jpg
The different forms of emulsifier lecithin – powder, two different concentration liquids, granular and powder lecithin

Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste, appearance, or other qualities. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling (with vinegar), salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as with wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the twentieth century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin. Food additives also include substances that may be introduced to food indirectly (called "indirect additives") in the manufacturing process, through packaging, or during storage or transport. [1] [2]

Food Substances consumed as nutrition

Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.

Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of food or other substances, and is determined primarily by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat, as well as temperature and texture, are also important to the overall gestalt of flavor perception. The flavor of the food, as such, can be altered with natural or artificial flavorants which affect these senses.

Pickling Procedure of preserving food in brine or vinegar

Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the lifespan of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. In East Asia, vinaigrette is also used as a pickling medium. The pickling procedure typically affects the food's texture, taste and flavor. The resulting food is called a pickle, or, to prevent ambiguity, prefaced with pickled. Foods that are pickled include vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, dairy and eggs.

Contents

Numbering

To regulate these additives and inform consumers, each additive is assigned a unique number called an "E number", which is used in Europe for all approved additives. This numbering scheme has now been adopted and extended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to internationally identify all additives, [3] regardless of whether they are approved for use.

E number codes for substances that used as food additives

E numbers are codes for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives for use within the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Commonly found on food labels, their safety assessment and approval are the responsibility of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Codex Alimentarius collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety

The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety.

E numbers are all prefixed by "E", but countries outside Europe use only the number, whether the additive is approved in Europe or not. For example, acetic acid is written as E260 on products sold in Europe, but is simply known as additive 260 in some countries. Additive 103, alkannin, is not approved for use in Europe so does not have an E number, although it is approved for use in Australia and New Zealand. Since 1987, Australia has had an approved system of labelling for additives in packaged foods. Each food additive has to be named or numbered. The numbers are the same as in Europe, but without the prefix "E".

Acetic acid A colourless liquid organic compound found in vinegar

Acetic acid, systematically named ethanoic acid, is a colourless liquid organic compound with the chemical formula CH3COOH (also written as CH3CO2H or C2H4O2). When undiluted, it is sometimes called glacial acetic acid. Vinegar is no less than 4% acetic acid by volume, making acetic acid the main component of vinegar apart from water. Acetic acid has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell. In addition to household vinegar, it is mainly produced as a precursor to polyvinyl acetate and cellulose acetate. It is classified as a weak acid since it only partially dissociates in solution, but concentrated acetic acid is corrosive and can attack the skin.

Alkannin chemical compound

Alkannin is a natural dye that is obtained from the extracts of plants from the borage family Alkanna tinctoria that are found in the south of France. The dye is used as a food coloring and in cosmetics. It is used as a red-brown food additive in regions such as Australia, and is designated in Europe as the E number E103, but is no longer approved for use. Alkannin has a deep red color in a greasy or oily environment and a violet color in an alkaline environment.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists these items as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS); [4] they are listed under both their Chemical Abstracts Service number and FDA regulation under the United States Code of Federal Regulations.

Food and Drug Administration agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services

The Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.

Generally recognized as safe United States government designation for food additives

Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) is a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designation that a chemical or substance added to food is considered safe by experts, and so is exempted from the usual Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food additive tolerance requirements. The concept of food additives being "generally recognized as safe" was first described in the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, and all additives introduced after this time had to be evaluated by new standards.

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) is a division of the American Chemical Society. It is a source of chemical information. CAS is located in Columbus, Ohio, United States.

Categories

Food additives can be divided into several groups, although there is some overlap because some additives exert more than one effect. For example, salt is both a preservative as well as a flavor. [5] [1]

Acidulents 
Acidulants confer sour or acid taste. Common acidulents include vinegar, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, and lactic acid.
Acidity regulators 
Acidity regulators are used for controlling the pH of foods for stability or to affect activity of enzymes.
Anticaking agents 
Anticaking agents keep powders such as milk powder from caking or sticking.
Antifoaming and foaming agents 
Antifoaming agents reduce or prevent foaming in foods. Foaming agents do the reverse.
Antioxidants 
Antioxidants such as vitamin C are preservatives by inhibiting the degradation of food by oxygen.

Bulking agents 
Bulking agents such as starch are additives that increase the bulk of a food without affecting its taste.
Food coloring 
Colorings are added to food to replace colors lost during preparation or to make food look more attractive.
Fortifying agents
Vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements to increase the nutritional value
Color retention agents 
In contrast to colorings, color retention agents are used to preserve a food's existing color.
Emulsifiers 
Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice cream, and homogenized milk.
Flavors 
Flavors are additives that give food a particular taste or smell, and may be derived from natural ingredients or created artificially.
Flavor enhancers 
Flavor enhancers enhance a food's existing flavors. A popular example is monosodium glutamate. Some flavor enhancers have their own flavors that are independent of the food.
Flour treatment agents 
Flour treatment agents are added to flour to improve its color or its use in baking.
Glazing agents
Glazing agents provide a shiny appearance or protective coating to foods.
Humectants 
Humectants prevent foods from drying out.
Tracer gas
Tracer gas allow for package integrity testing to prevent foods from being exposed to atmosphere, thus guaranteeing shelf life.
Preservatives 
Preservatives prevent or inhibit spoilage of food due to fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.
Stabilizers 
Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam for example) give foods a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions.
Sweeteners 
Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food energy (calories) low, or because they have beneficial effects regarding diabetes mellitus, tooth decay, or diarrhea.
Thickeners 
Thickening agents are substances which, when added to the mixture, increase its viscosity without substantially modifying its other properties.
Packaging 
Bisphenols, phthalates, and perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) are indirect additives used in manufacturing or packaging. In July 2018 the American Academy of Pediatrics called for more careful study of those three substances, along with nitrates and food coloring, as they might harm children during development. [6]

Safety and regulation

With the increasing use of processed foods since the 19th century, food additives are more widely used. Many countries regulate their use. For example, boric acid was widely used as a food preservative from the 1870s to the 1920s, [7] [8] but was banned after World War I due to its toxicity, as demonstrated in animal and human studies. During World War II, the urgent need for cheap, available food preservatives led to it being used again, but it was finally banned in the 1950s. [7] Such cases led to a general mistrust of food additives, and an application of the precautionary principle led to the conclusion that only additives that are known to be safe should be used in foods. In the United States, this led to the adoption of the Delaney clause, an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, stating that no carcinogenic substances may be used as food additives. However, after the banning of cyclamates in the United States and Britain in 1969, saccharin, the only remaining legal artificial sweetener at the time, was found to cause cancer in rats. Widespread public outcry in the United States, partly communicated to Congress by postage-paid postcards supplied in the packaging of sweetened soft drinks, led to the retention of saccharin, despite its violation of the Delaney clause. [9] However, in 2000, saccharin was found to be carcinogenic in rats due only to their unique urine chemistry. [10] [11]

Hyperactivity

Periodically, concerns have been expressed about a linkage between additives and hyperactivity, [12] however "no clear evidence of ADHD was provided". [13]

In 2007, Food Standards Australia New Zealand published an official shoppers' guidance with which the concerns of food additives and their labeling are mediated. [14] In the EU it can take 10 years or more to obtain approval for a new food additive. This includes five years of safety testing, followed by two years for evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority and another three years before the additive receives an EU-wide approval for use in every country in the European Union. [15] Apart from testing and analyzing food products during the whole production process to ensure safety and compliance with regulatory standards, Trading Standards officers (in the UK) protect the public from any illegal use or potentially dangerous mis-use of food additives by performing random testing of food products. [16]

There has been significant controversy associated with the risks and benefits of food additives. [17] Natural additives may be similarly harmful or be the cause of allergic reactions in certain individuals. For example, safrole was used to flavor root beer until it was shown to be carcinogenic. Due to the application of the Delaney clause, it may not be added to foods, even though it occurs naturally in sassafras and sweet basil. [18]

Micronutrients

A subset of food additives, micronutrients added in food fortification processes preserve nutrient value by providing vitamins and minerals to foods such as flour, cereal, margarine and milk which normally would not retain such high levels. [19] Added ingredients, such as air, bacteria, fungi, and yeast, also contribute manufacturing and flavor qualities, and reduce spoilage. [20]

Standardization of its derived products

ISO has published a series of standards regarding the topic and these standards are covered by ICS 67.220. [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

A preservative is a substance or a chemical that is added to products such as food, beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, paints, biological samples, cosmetics, wood, and many other products to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes. In general, preservation is implemented in two modes, chemical and physical. Chemical preservation entails adding chemical compounds to the product. Physical preservation entails processes such as refrigeration or drying. Preservative food additives reduce the risk of foodborne infections, decrease microbial spoilage, and preserve fresh attributes and nutritional quality. Some physical techniques for food preservation include dehydration, UV-C radiation, freeze-drying, and refrigeration. Chemical preservation and physical preservation techniques are sometimes combined.

Molasses viscous by-product of the refining of sugarcane, grapes, or sugar beets into sugar

Molasses (/məˈlæsɪz/) or black treacle is a viscous product resulting from refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. Molasses varies by amount of sugar, method of extraction, and age of plant. Sugarcane molasses is primarily used for sweetening and flavoring foods in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Molasses is a defining component of fine commercial brown sugar.

Sugar substitute Food additive

A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy than sugar-based sweeteners, making it a zero-calorie or low-calorie sweetener. Artificial sweeteners may be derived through manufacturing of plant extracts or processed by chemical synthesis. Sugar alcohols such as erythritol, xylitol, and sorbitol are derived from sugars. In 2017, sucralose was the most common sugar substitute used in the manufacture of foods and beverages; it had 30% of the global market, which was projected to be valued at $2.8 billion by 2021.

Food coloring substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink

Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels, and pastes. Food coloring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking. Food colorants are also used in a variety of non-food applications including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, home craft projects, and medical devices.

Disodium inosinate chemical compound

Disodium inosinate (E631) is the disodium salt of inosinic acid with the chemical formula C10H11N4Na2O8P. It is used as a food additive and often found in instant noodles, potato chips, and a variety of other snacks. Although it can be obtained from bacterial fermentation of sugars, it is often commercially prepared.

Quinoline Yellow WS chemical compound

Quinoline Yellow WS is a mixture of organic compounds derived from the dye Quinoline Yellow SS. Owing to the presence of sulfonate groups, the WS dyes are water-soluble (WS). It is a mixture of disulfonates (principally), monosulfonates and trisulfonates of 2-(2-quinolyl)indan-1,3-dione with a maximum absorption wavelength of 416 nm.p. 119

Sodium cyclamate chemical compound

Sodium cyclamate is an artificial sweetener. It is 30–50 times sweeter than sucrose, making it the least potent of the commercially used artificial sweeteners. It is often used with other artificial sweeteners, especially saccharin; the mixture of 10 parts cyclamate to 1 part saccharin is common and masks the off-tastes of both sweeteners. It is less expensive than most sweeteners, including sucralose, and is stable under heating. Safety concerns have led to cyclamates being banned in the United States and other countries, though the European Union recognizes them as safe.

Saccharin chemical compound

Sodium saccharin is an artificial sweetener with effectively no food energy. It is about 300–400 times as sweet as sucrose but has a bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations. Saccharin is used to sweeten products such as drinks, candies, cookies, and medicines.

Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate is a versatile, FDA approved food additive used to improve the mix tolerance and volume of processed foods. It is one type of a commercially available lactylate. SSL is non-toxic, biodegradable, and typically manufactured using biorenewable feedstocks. Because SSL is a safe and highly effective food additive, it is used in a wide variety of products ranging from baked goods and desserts to pet foods.

Sunset Yellow FCF chemical compound

Sunset Yellow FCF is a petroleum-derived orange azo dye with a pH dependent maximum absorption at about 480 nm at pH 1 and 443 nm at pH 13 with a shoulder at 500 nm. When added to foods sold in the US it is known as FD&C Yellow 6; when sold in Europe, it is denoted by E Number E110.

Neotame chemical compound

Neotame, also known by the trade name Newtame, is a non-caloric artificial sweetener and aspartame analog by NutraSweet. By mass, it is 8000 times sweeter than sucrose. It has no notable off-flavors when compared to sucrose. It enhances original food flavors. It can be used alone, but is often mixed with other sweeteners to increase their individual sweetness and decrease their off-flavors. It is chemically somewhat more stable than aspartame. Its use can be cost effective in comparison to other sweeteners as smaller amounts of neotame are needed.

Sodium erythorbate chemical compound

Sodium erythorbate (C6H7NaO6) is a food additive used predominantly in meats, poultry, and soft drinks. Chemically, it is the sodium salt of erythorbic acid. When used in processed meat such as hot dogs and beef sticks, it increases the rate at which nitrite reduces to nitric oxide, thus facilitating a faster cure and retaining the pink coloring. As an antioxidant structurally related to vitamin C, it helps improve flavor stability and prevents the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines. When used as a food additive, its E number is E316. The use of erythorbic acid and sodium erythorbate as a food preservative has increased greatly since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of sulfites as preservatives in foods intended to be eaten fresh (such as ingredients for fresh salads) and as food processors have responded to the fact that some people are allergic to sulfites. It can also be found in bologna, and is occasionally used in beverages, baked goods, and potato salad.

Ingredient substance used in the preparation of food

An ingredient is a substance that forms part of a mixture. For example, in cooking, recipes specify which ingredients are used to prepare a specific dish. Many commercial products contain secret ingredients that are purported to make them better than competing products. In the pharmaceutical industry, an active ingredient is that part of a formulation that yields the effect expected by the customer.

Natural foods

Natural foods and all natural foods are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is often assumed to imply foods that are not processed and whose ingredients are all natural products, thus conveying an appeal to nature. But the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing. In some countries, the term "natural" is defined and enforced. In others, such as the United States, it is not enforced.

Caramel color water soluble food coloring

Caramel color or caramel coloring is a water-soluble food coloring. It is made by heat treatment of carbohydrates, in general in the presence of acids, alkalis, or salts, in a process called caramelization. It is more fully oxidized than caramel candy, and has an odor of burnt sugar and a somewhat bitter taste. Its color ranges from pale yellow to amber to dark brown.

Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate or E482 is a versatile, FDA approved food additive. It is one type of a commercially available lactylate. CSL is non-toxic, biodegradable, and typically manufactured using biorenewable feedstocks. Because CSL is a safe and highly effective food additive, it is used in a wide variety of products from baked goods and desserts to packaging.

Saccharin Study and Labeling Act of 1977 US law

Saccharin Study and Labeling Act of 1977 or Saccharin Study, Labeling and Advertising Act was a United States federal statute enacting requirements for a scientific observation regarding the impurities in, potential toxicity, and problematic carcinogenicity of a non-nutritive sweetener better known as saccharin. The Act of Congress invoked an immediate eighteen month moratorium prohibiting the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare from pursuing regulatory implications by limiting the production and use of saccharin. The Act codified a warning label requirement advocating the non-nutritive sweetener had been discovered to yield carcinogenicity in laboratory animals.

Sucrose esters class of chemical compounds

Sucrose esters or sucrose fatty acid esters are a group of surfactants chemically synthesized from esterification of sucrose and fatty acids. This group of substances is remarkable for the wide range of hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) that it covers. The polar sucrose moiety serves as a hydrophilic end of the molecule, while the long fatty acid chain serves as a lipophilic end of the molecule. Due to this amphipathic property, sucrose esters act as emulsifiers; i.e., they have the ability to bind both water and oil simultaneously. Depending on the HLB value, some can be used as water-in-oil emulsifiers, and some as oil-in-water emulsifiers. Sucrose esters are used in cosmetics, food preservatives, food additives, and other products. A class of sucrose esters with highly substituted hydroxyl groups, olestra, is also used as a fat replacer in food.

References

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  4. See also "Food Additives", Food and Drug Administration website
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  13. Amchova, Petra; Kotolova, Hana; Ruda-Kucerova, Jana "Health safety issues of synthetic food colorants" Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (2015), 73(3), 914-922.doi : 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.09.026
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  16. "Loading..." www.understandingfoodadditives.org.
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Additional sources